I have recently been making work for a new series near to Milton Keynes. Whilst walking around town, I found it interesting the way it seemed to be designed for the movement of cars rather than pedestrians. I was continually reminded, by the many signs around the city, that pedestrians do not have the right of way, which is reserved for vehicles. At times I found myself having to walk around car parks or along lengthy grid-like boulevards in order to find an underpass simply to cross the road. This makes it a frustrating place for a walker and I spent hours walking around without seeming to get anywhere.
Milton Keynes was re-generated in recent years as a business and retail hub that was soon to become known as “the city of the future” (although it still only has the status of a town). The main source of activity is around a number of shopping malls in the centre. When I first visited “MK” in the 90s it seemed to be a town enjoying financial prosperity, as well as its status as the most modern city in the UK. When I recently visited it looked more weathered, many of the shops had closed down, the nightclubs and bars looked tired, and the many car parks were almost empty.
Milton Keynes is located in Buckinghamshire, which is famous for its lush vegetation, green pastoral landscapes and abundance of trees. When I came across a man on his phone, next to an artificial tree, it seemed to reveal something insightful about the place. For me the scene represented the sense of artificiality I felt in Milton Keynes, which was compounded by the snow dome that can be seen in the background of the photograph.